See Part 1 of this adventure here.
|I thought that this rock formation in the canyon looked a lot like the now-fallen Old Man of the Mountain in the White Mountains of New Hampshire
After our lunch at the Gateway Canyons Resort in Gateway, Colorado, we started up John Brown Canyon. I had heard so much about this part of the mountain biking trip, and everything I heard was true. It was grueling, it was all uphill, and it was exhausting. And this was taking the ride in the comfy passenger seat of our Prius, and I didn't even have to drive!
This was the view at the top, or what I thought was the top of the road. As Beez pointed out, though, the road just never stopped going up, up, and up some more.
Dinosaur tracks from an unmarked trail off to the side
This is the little car that could.
This shot is to give you the sense of the immense drop-off on the side of the road. I couldn't get my foot to go out any closer to the edge.
I hope that this shot gives a better idea of the drop at this point.
Looking down toward Monument Valley, Utah.
I have no photos for the next part of the journey, but it is certainly engraved in my memory. The road finally started going down but, if anything, it was far worse than going up. Picture a very narrow and twisty dirt road, covered with slippery gravel and broken rocks, with our Toyota inching along through the blind curves. To our right the road was overhung by those red cliffs that break off in car- and house-sized chunks. On the left side of the car, the cliffs fell off for what looked (to me) like thousands of feet. I couldn't see the bottom.
By the time I was thinking that perhaps we should turn back, there was no longer any place to turn around. I wondered what would happen if we went over the edge and later read about a hiker in the canyon who found a smashed truck and the body of a man who had been missing for 26 years (that story can be seen here).
We eventually found ourselves winding through fantastically-shaped red rocks on the outskirts of Moab. Moab was the end-point of the big bike ride, and I shared some of the mixed feelings of regret and relief the bike riders must have felt at the end of their grueling journey. The 215 miles of trails they had traveled were amazingly beautiful and crushingly challenging for them. I have a huge appreciation for their accomplishment!
We spent a relaxing evening in town, had breakfast at the Moab Diner ("the best green chile in Utah", and it was!), then headed out on the road for home.
|Good-bye to Moab
|The last of the red cliffs of Utah
Approaching New Mexico, and a new landscape appears
Another blurry photo taken on the fly